- Replies to Last Week’s Essay on Fishing
- Essay/Review - Animal Wise: The Thoughts
and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures
- This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary
- The November-December Peaceable Table Is Now Online
1. Replies to Last Week’s Essay on Fishing
(see November 6, 2013)
Thank you for this very sensitive and eye opening essay about fishing.
I just wish more people would open up to the suffering of animals ...
the world has become a huge killing field and those who are most
vulnerable - the animals.
What these guys truly find relaxing isn't the fishing - it's just
being out in nature, on the water, in the fresh air. But admitting to
being sensitive to, and appreciative of, such things isn't considered
"manly" enough in this "culture" sadly - so some needless brutality is
added. What I tell people who cling to this old paradigm is "While in
the past, in the West, manhood was measured by how much harm a person
could do*, today it is measured by how little."
Gordon Lee Stelter
*Think Alexander the "Great."
2. Essay/Review - Animal Wise: The Thoughts and
Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell (Crown,
New York, 2013, 291 pp., $26)
Animal Wise is a welcomed
addition to a growing literature on the minds of nonhuman persons.
Science writer Virginia Morell uses an engaging style to introduce
readers to the vast literature that demonstrates thinking and feeling
among nonhuman persons. This book compliments When Elephants Weep: The
Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan
McCarthy and Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions, and Heart by Marc
Bekoff. This entire area of inquiry is indebted to Donald Griffin, who
wrote Animal Minds. A distinctive feature of Morell’s book is that she
discusses thinking among insects and fish.
All attempts to
explore the minds of nonhuman persons are challenged by the
difficulties humans have in communicating with nonhumans. Many
scientists have chosen to study nonhuman behavior rather than
thinking, because behavior can be directly observed and measured,
unlike thinking. However sensible this might seem from a scientific
standpoint, it is not reasonable to presume (as many scientists have
done) that, because thinking and emotions among nonhuman persons are
difficult to study scientifically, nonhuman persons don’t think or
have feelings. In truth, thinking among nonhumans is the most
reasonable conclusion to draw from complex behavior. In particular,
mindless “instinct” explains poorly the many behaviors found among
nonhumans that require learning or complex social interactions.
Perhaps one reason people often dismiss thinking and feeling among
nonhuman persons is that acknowledging nonhumans’ mental states would
make it more difficult to justify the brutal exploitation to which
nonhuman persons are routinely subjected. Injustice and deceit go
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Bringing God’s Heavenly Will to Earth
4. The November-December Peaceable Table Is Now
* The Editor's
Corner Guest Essay, by Friend Rachel MacNair, deals with the way
violent language is often used to describe positive processes, such as
the origin of stars. What does this practice say about a
society's assumptions regarding the core of reality?
This issue's Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom really shows us the
spirit behind that Kingdom: a small dog determined to draw a
rescuer to a trapped kitten.
* Our Pioneer for this issue is
19th century Shaker leader Frederick Evans, who became a dedicated
vegetarian not long after he joined the Shakers and remained one all
his life. Evans was very articulate, encouraging his fellow Shakers
and others to follow the same path.
* Two recipes for
the holidays (or every day), one somewhat complex and one simple:
a delicious Pumpkin Cheezecake with Gingersnap Crust, and savory
Roasted Rosemary Parsnips. Both come highly recommended from
residents here in Ojai, California.
This issue of PT is No.
99. We hope readers will help us celebrate the appearance of the
hundredth issue, January 2014, with letters and submissions.
Next year we expect to be back on a monthly schedule.
this issue, visit
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor